HRH's first runaway success!
KING SOLOMON'S MINES was first published in one volume on September 30, 1885 by Cassell & Company in London.
According to McKay, "The first printing consisted of 2,000 copies. Of these, 1,000 copies were bound up in September, 1885, and contained at the end a catalogue of Cassell & Co. publications (8 leaves), dated August, 1885; 500 copies were bound up in October, 1885, and contained at the end a catalogue of Cassell & Co. publications (eight leaves), dated October 1885; and 500 sets of sheets were shipped to Cassell & Co., New York, where they were bound and published in November, 1885."
The catalogue at the back of the 1,000 earliest copies is date-coded 5 G. 8.85. The first 1,000 copies contain typographical errors that were corrected in later printings. The second 500 copies' catalogue is date-coded 5 G. 10.8 (the 5 is missing) and 5 B. 10.85.
Scott agrees with McKay; while Whatmore only agrees on the publication month and year, but not day.
The second printing was October 1885, the third printing November, the fourth printing was December 10, and the fifth printing was December 27. Only the first through the fifth printings have the year 1885 printed at the bottom of their title-pages. One or the other of the December 1885 printings has "Eighth Thousand" printed on its title-page, and a date-code of "1285" at the bottom of its last page.
Harpers published its first American edition in 1887.
In 1887 (supposedly the 37th thousand), the first illustrated edition was published, featuring 9 illustrations by Walter Paget.
Also in 1887 (supposedly the 53rd thousand), a total eclipse of the sun found in Chapter XI was changed to a total eclipse of the moon.
In 1905 Cassell published a new edition that features 32 illustrations by W. Russell Flint.
And, in 1912, Cassell published another new edition featuring gorgeous A.C. Michael color illustrations on 8 plates.
See the VisualHaggard.org page dedicated to the illustrations found in various editions.
Sold by Sotheby's for £20,000 in 2016
1885 first London issue of the first printing of the First Edition, with typographical errors, and ads at the end date-coded "5 G. 8.85"
Notice the publisher is NOT printed on the bottom of the cloth spine for the London issue, whereas the New York issue does have it printed at the bottom
Sold by Heritage Auctions for $3250 in 2012
London: Cassell & Company, 1885. First printing of the first edition (with the typographical errors), the less common American issue, this copy bound in green cloth in Cassell's New York city office without publisher's catalogue at end. Original brown and white floral and star patterned endpapers, and publisher printed at bottom of spine.
Below, a first London issue of the first printing, with 1885 on the title-page, with all typographical errors, and with ads at the end date-code "5 G. 8.85".
The typographical errors are as follows: "Bamamgwato" on p. 10, line 14; "to let twins to live" on p. 122, line 27; and "wrod" instead of "word" in the fifth line of the note at the foot of p. 307.
The first London issue has ads at the end date-coded "5 G. 8.85"
One of the 500 copies of the first issue of 1885, this one bound in red cloth in Cassell's New York city office without publisher's catalogue at end, with floral patterned endpapers, and publisher printed at bottom of spine. The typographical errors are all present in the American issue of the first printing.
David Frank supplied the photos.
Below, an 1885 copy that was bound in blue cloth in Cassell's New York city office without the publisher's catalogue at end, with floral patterned endpapers, and publisher printed at bottom of spine.
The typographical errors are all corrected in this edition, so it is either the second printing from October 1885, the third printing from November 1885, the fourth printing from December 10, 1885, or the fifth printing from December 27, 1885.
David Frank supplied the photos.